The Boy

Musical Score By: Bear McCreary

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            In the horror film, The Boy, Lauren Cohan is Greta, a young American woman who signs on become a nanny for an eight-year-old boy who lives with his family in a remote village in England.  Greta isn't just signing on to a new job, she is looking for a new beginning and running from a rough past.  But her new job isn't quite what she expected.  The Heelshires' young son, Brahms is actually a life-sized doll treated as though it were a real boy.  As Greta comes to learn more about the real Brahms, she gets the distinct impression that there is more to the Brahms doll than meets the eye.

            The musical score of The Boy was created by American composer Bear McCreary.  Known for his creating striking and energetic musical scores containing an ethnic flare, Bear McCreary became a household name with his score for Battlestar Galactica.  Since then, he has created a number of musical scores for television, film and video games, including Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Defiance, Da Vinci's Demons, Black Sails, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Europa Report, Everly, Outlander, Dark Void, SOCOM 4 and more.

            This is not Bear McCreary's first foray into the horror genre and he has created musical scores for horror films that will send chills up your spine.  Knowing that the musical score is a very much a part of what makes what's on the screen that much scarier, McCreary looked for something that would definitely get the audiences hackles up.  And what could be creepier than a distorted children's lullaby - Johannes Brahms' composition, Brahms' Lullaby.  According to McCreary, "This melody makes a couple brief cameos in the film itself, with Greta tinkering on the harpsichord...I sampled an antique music box, a gift from an old friend, for a frail, plunky sound. I then layered in detuned pianos, autoharps, dulcimers, ethnic bells, celeste, glockenspiel and harp, panning them around the mix. The creaky, off-kilter music box sound was the result of hours of tinkering with live instruments and samples, ironically the most time-consuming aspect of the score." 

            The resulting sound is a creepy, spine tingling, off-key sound blended into the piano and string-based score that gives the film a gothic feel.  Enter some fast-paced violins and percussion to hype up the adrenaline, blasts of music that accompany big reveals in the film, a sense of childlike wonderment in moments when Brahms is especially playful and low-registry instrumentation to offer up an ominous and dark sound.  It's no wonder the makers of this film turned to Bear McCreary to create a dramatic and spooky score that perfectly matches the visuals of the film. 

            The Boy Soundtrack also includes an original song by Bear's brother Brendan.  Entitled In My Dreams and featuring electronic sound and incredibly distorted vocals by Fyfe Monroe, the song speaks about wishing that life could be as perfect as in the singer's dreams.  Listening to the track, you get the distinct impression that the singer's life is as distorted as her voice and perhaps those perfect moments in the dreams are distorted memories of things that have actually occurred.  The song is incredibly creepy and well suited for the film.

            Having seen the actual movie, I can honestly say that Bear McCreary created a perfect score to aide in scaring the daylights out of the viewers of The Boy.  If the album contained the average electronic horror cues, I would pan it, but Bear McCreary chose to create a spooky orchestral score that actually works well as a stand alone album.  The Boy Soundtrack is well worth the listen!


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